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Gwangju News International Magazine for Gwangju and Jeollanam-do

August 2009 Volume 9, Issue 8


Every Saturday 2:15 p.m.

August 1st Topic: Learning about the world through photography

road created by humans. Roadkill. Tae-young and I step onto the middle of the dangerous road filled with speeding cars. He for the investigation and I for the filming.

Speaker: Jocelyn Stokes (Photographer)

August 22nd

August 8th

Topic: The Role of GFN to the international residents in Gwangju

Movie Screening “One Day on the Road (어느날 그 길에서)”

Speaker: Gwangju Foreign Network

Directed by Hwang Yun l Documentary l 97min l English Subtitles

August 29th

* Synopsis: There are gloves, shoes, beverage bottles and fruit peels on the shoulder of the road. And there beside the waste thrown away by humans, there is a little bundle of fur resembling a rag that had been alive minutes ago with hot red blood like humans. A rabbit that wanted to go to the other side of the road, a family of waterdeer that wanted to go to the pond for a drink. They perish on the

Topic: Nepal, Land of Culture, Nature, and Opportunities Speaker: Yadav Khanal (Deputy Chief of Mission, Counselor)

All talks take place at the GIC office. For more information about the GIC Talk go to, contact Kim Ji-hyun at: or call: (062) 226- 2733/4

2009 GIC 4th Korean Language Class Saturday Classes

Weekday Classes Level


Beginner 1-2 Intermediate1


Tuesday & Thursday

Beginner 1

Monday & Wednesday

Intermediate 1/ 3

- Period: July 13th – August 28th (Twice a week for 7 weeks) - Class hours: 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (2 hours) - Tuition fee: 80,000 won (GIC membership fee: 10,000 won/6 months and textbooks excluded)


- Period: July 11th – August 29th (Every Saturday for 7 weeks) - Class hours: 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (2 hours) - Tuition fee: 50,000 won (GIC membership fee: 10,000 won/6 months and textbooks excluded)

* The tuition fee is non-refundable after the first week. ** A class may be canceled if less than 5 people sign up.

GIC is located on the 5th floor of the Jeon-il building, the same building as the Korean Exchange Bank, downtown. The entrance is located immediately to the north of the bank. Contact GIC office for more information. Phone: 062) 226-2733/4 E-mail: Website:


Gwangju News August 2009


Contents 4

The Korean Way No. 78 By 2Ys

August 2009, Volume 9, Issue 8 Publisher: Prof. Shin Gyong-gu


Useful Korean Phrases By Kim Hyeon-jeong

Editor: Doug Stuber Copy Editor: Jon Ozelton


Templestay in Guknyeongsa By Kelly Shephard

Coordinator: Kim Sing-sing, Kim Minsu Layout and Design: Kim Hye-young


Summers in the Land of Han By Matthew D. Jenkins

Proofreaders: Ed Lyons, Mike Hayden, Rupsha Biswas


Printed by: Saenal

Soon-Su By Kim Yea-lim & Ahn So-young

Photographer: Bae Sang-don Cover Photo: New friends at Daein market, at the Asian Youth Culture Festival


Poems By Edward Lyons


Gu Ji Hoy By Doug Stuber


Reflections on Kimbap Triangles By Jake Melville

Gwangju News uses 100% E-PLUS recycled paper provided by Daehan Paper in Seoul.


On Expectations By Joe Dugan

Special thanks to the City of Gwangju and all of our sponsors.


New Bank note, 50,000 Won Bill By Ahn So-young

Copyright by the Gwangju International Center.All rights reserved. No part of this publication covered by this copyright may be reproduced in any form or by any means - graphic, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise - without the written consent of the publishers.


Gwangju News welcomes letters to the editor ( regarding articles and issues. All correspondence may be edited for reasons of clarity or space.


Asian Youth Culture Festival By Kang Young-gu & Noh In-woo


International Students Meeting

Cartoons By Eric Park

By Lee Kee-eun 24

GAIA Gallery Grand Opening By Mark Hayden

k i m ’s Dental Clinic


The ‘Justice for Ali Khan Bike Ride’, Gwangju - Daejeon Prison 7-9 July 09 By Andrew O'Donnell


Letters to the Editor


Boryoeng Mud Festival 2009 By Mark Hayden and Stewart Wallace


August Events Compiled by Jung Ji-eun


Community Board

Gwangju News August 2009


The Korean Way No. 78

The Way Koreans Kept the Inter-gender Distance (男女內外法) “


eaching the age of seven, boys and girls are not to sit together.” This is the teaching of Confucius long adhered to in Korea. Based on this, there arose a custom and a system which regulated or prohibited contact between the sexes.

This was a kind of social rule, keeping a proper “intergender distance” (內外法). Together with the so-called “ways of three-follows”(三從之道), that demand following father before marriage, following husband after marriage and following son after husband’s death, the inter-gender-distance rule was a very effective unwritten social rule to restrict the freedom of women during the Joseon Dynasty. This inter-genderdistance-keeping rule was in force even after the Kabo Reform in 1894 which eliminated the class distinctions between yangban and commoners, and thus had the women cast away their woman shawl (쓰개치마, tsugaechima) used to cover the head and upper body when going out, like the Muslim woman’s burqa or chador.

Inter-gender-distance rule: shackle for women The present expression “naewaehanda” simply means “observing the proprieties between the sexes.” “Naewae” literally means “man and woman” signifying the concept of distinction between the sexes. This gender distinction was gradually and naturally formed from early childhood. When a son was born he was laid on a table and made to play with jade toys and when a daughter was born she was left on the floor and made to play with tiles. When they were growing up, and called by senior people the boy was to answer with a quick and snappy response, but the girl was to answer with a slow and soft response.


Gwangju News August 2009


Muslim Chador

The content of their education was different. Boys at five were to learn the numbers and four directions and at nine they were taught the counting of days and at ten they were sent out to be taught by a teacher. But as for the girls of 10 years of age, they were not to go out of the house, and learned spinning, silkworm culture, needlework, clothes-making, ritual preparation, etc. Gender distinction was clear in the house structure, too. The inner building was meant for women and the outer building (men’s quarters) was for men. Between the buildings was a middle gate and except for a special occasion no man was allowed inside the gate. When walking in the street, men were to walk on the right

side, women on the left. Inside the house, the clothes for the husband and wife were not to be mixed on the rack or wall shelf. The relatives with whom face-to-face meetings were allowed were parents, siblings, parentsin-law, paternal / maternal uncles and aunts. Women had to control themselves as much as possible in going out of the house. The upper class women of the Joseon era made only a few outgoings in their life. On inevitable occasions, they had to cover their face with tsugaechima or ride a palanquin or a sedan chair with the four sides carried by four men. The extreme gender distinction during the Joseon era was the prohibition of a widow’s remarriage. As for men, their remarriage was not only possible when their wives were dead, but they were allowed to keep concubines even when their wives were alive. Not only that, the wives were not to feel jealous of the concubines. Wives were bound by seven valid causes for divorce and jealousy was one of them. The other causes were non-obedience to parents-in-law, bearing no sons, lustfulness, contracting malignant disease, talkativeness and kleptomania. But there were three occasions where wives were not divorced: that is, when there was no place for the wife to go to after divorce; when the wife had observed three-years mourning period with her husband for their deceased parents and when they had started their married life in poverty but later become rich. When the husband violated this seven-cause rule, that is, when he divorced his wife in spite of his wife’s innocence, he was punished with one and a half years imprisonment. When the wife is divorced in spite of her exceptional three occasions of stay of divorce (三不出), then the husband was punished with 100 cane-floggings and was made to live with his wife again. In cases where the wife was with malignant disease or committed adultery, this rule did not apply. The commoner class in general followed the social custom set by the yangban class and the commoner widows understood the prohibition of widows’ remarriage but the society was somehow lenient on this matter, allowing them to remarry. But for the yangban widows, their remarriage would deprive their sons of government posts. During the Joseon Dynasty, the denial of government post meant the deprivation of yangban status. By 2Ys (An audacious pen name standing for Too Wise, whose real name acronym is S. S. S.)

Useful Korean Phrases 잭: 저기요, 실례지만, 화장실이 어디에 있어요? [Jeogiyo, silryejiman, hwajangsili eodie itseoyo?] 아저씨 : 저기에 있어요. [Jeogie itseoyo.] Jack: Excuse me. where is the bathroom? Man : It's over there.

Key expressions 1. 실례지만 [Shilryejiman] (excuse me, but...) "실 례 지 만 " [Shilryejiman] is used when interrupting or asking something that might be perceived as rude to someone you don't know. ‘실례’is a rude act, and for Koreans talking to someone you don't know at all can be considered rather rude. Do not use it for asking someone to move or other situations you may use “Excuse me” for in English. 2. 어디에 있어요? [Odi-e issoyo] (Where is it? ) (Noun)에 is used for 1) the location of something or someone. → 서울에 친구가 있어요. [Seoule chinguga issoyo] 2) a destination. → 오늘 GIC에 가요. [Onul GIC-e gayo] 3) a time. → 7시에 만나요. [Ilgopsi-e mannayo] 3. 저기에 있어요. [Jogi-e issoyo] (It's over there.) “있다”[issda] is used for 1) Giving the location of something. (Place + 에 있다) → 집에 노트북이 있어요. [Jib-e notubuk-i issoyo] The notebook is at home.] 2) Talking about the existence of something. (N이/가 있다) → 여자친구가 있어요. [Yeojachinguga issoyo] I have a girlfriend. 3) Saying that one has something (Person 은/는 N이/가 있다) → GIC는 한국어 교실이 있어요. [GICnun hanguko gyosili issoyo] GIC has a Korean classroom. By Kim Hyeon-jeong She is a Korean instructor at the GIC.

Gwangju News August 2009


Current Event

Templestay in Guknyeongsa W

e left the Seoul subway station in the pouring rain, under a heavily overcast sky. Our van wound through Saturday morning traffic and finally up into the more secluded environs of the Bukhansan mountains. After a high-speed ride up an unlikely road, paved but steep and narrow, under the shadows of overhanging branches of impossibly green trees, we were there. Rather, we were ready to get out and start walking. Something about Korea that has always fascinated me is the integration of urban and rural, of new and old, and this place was no exception: our path meandered past farm tractors, vegetable gardens, and colourful shops specializing in the latest hi-tech hiking gear and outdoor clothing.

Food stalls and souvenir shops were open for business despite the early hour and unpleasant weather. We kept on walking. Steps had been cut into massive granite faces, and bridges were erected over watery chasms. Potted plants heavy with gochu, hot red peppers, glistened and drooped in front of small shacks, while raindrops rhythmically clattered on a satellite dish. The boundaries between public and private property seem to blur in such places. Through a cluster of restaurants, outdoor food preparation and

dishwashing areas, our path cut right through the middle of it all and lead us to the mountain. Our goal was the temple Guknyeongsa. This place was a complete mystery to me. I’ve visited quite a few Buddhist temples throughout South Korea, and read about quite a few more, but I had never even heard of this one. I thought it would be just another little temple on another little mountain outside of the city. Until you take the time to familiarize yourself with the history and the specific symbolism inherent in these places, temples all start to look alike. This particular site was not listed in either of my Korea travel books, so I was expecting something small and obscure, something insignificant. I was wrong. The winding path up the mountainside wasn’t especially steep, but it was muddy, and both the low clouds and our umbrellas prevented much of a view. There was thick foliage overhead, pines and broadleafed trees, but everything was still soaking wet; there was no direct sunlight, but everything was shining. Everything around us seemed to glow. Guknyeongsa is a thousand-year-old temple and

“May all those who devote themselves to praying here at Guknyeongsa, the thousand year old prayer-site, attain Buddhahood.” – temple sign


Gwangju News August 2009

“The sight of the Buddha at daybreak and sunset is especially sure to inspire endless glory. Pray here, at the temple of countless miracles, and obtain all your wishes.” – temple sign

monastery located under the peak of Samgaksan (Samgak Mountain). Known as a Nation-Protecting monastery, it has been said that if Guknyeongsa prospers then the entire country of Korea will prosper; but if it falls, then the nation itself will suffer the same fate. An auspicious location indeed; legend has it that a dragon once ascended to heaven from this same location. A sight nearly as otherworldly as a dragon met our eyes as we arrived at the temple complex after our half-hour walk in the pouring rain: the Grand Buddha Statue. The largest seated Buddha figure in East Asia, the 24meter statue is considered the protector of the capital city, Seoul, a metropolitan area in which perhaps one third of South Korea’s total population resides. Another unique feature of the statue is the position of the Buddha himself: seated in the lotus position with hands in front of chest, palms pressed together. According to signs beneath the statue, this particular posture “was adopted with the goal that all beholders at once might awaken the spirit to bow with joined palms to all sentient beings, and it also declares the vow of the Buddha that he would treat all sentient beings as Buddha himself.” Furthermore, ten thousand small golden Buddha statues surround the central Buddha, to “signify an endless testament of devotion.” An awe-inspiring sight. Guknyeongsa itself is one of the more picturesque temples I’ve seen. It’s true that the majority of them are located on forested mountainsides, and most, if not all Korean Buddhist temples, feature architecture that manages to combine an almost royal magnificence with an air of seclusion and subtlety. Every gardener and landscaper dreams of ancient stone walls and steps, of twisted pines and flowering cherries, of deep

clear pools full of carp and lotus blooms. So what makes this particular temple so beautiful? What does Guknyeongsa have that countless others don’t? I could play the Seon (Zen) card here, and simply reply with something like, “Those who know do not speak; those who speak do not know.” But we mean more or less the same thing when we say: You just have to be there. You have to see that enormous statue appear out of nowhere, as you struggle up that muddy hill in the rain and tip your umbrella back to get a better look. You have to walk to the rhythmic swish as a line of people in loose gray meditation clothing circle the hall, try to shake out the sitting-meditation cramps in your legs, walk and listen to the fish-shaped bells outside ringing in the mountain breeze, or walk until you hear the bell signalling you to sit once more. You have to see the green valley alive with clouds, see the green hillsides appear and disappear in the churning mist. Try to observe everything without judging anything, without being distracted, as you walk through the most beautiful art galleries and museums you will ever see. Listen to the first birds within the mountain pines and rock faces, calling forth the new day. Learn how refreshing silence can truly be. You have to be there: wake up two hours before sunrise, open your eyes to the deep booming chime of a temple bell, and open the paper door of your room to step out into an utterly unfamiliar world of darkness and rain and stone. You have to walk into the main hall and prostrate 108 times, then walk out again sore and out of breath and ready for breakfast. You have to see the ornate buildings and the Grand Buddha Statue, gleaming and steadfast, materialize out of the darkness and the mist. Photos & Story Kelly Shephard

Gwangju News August 2009



Summers in the Land of Han A

s the bitter chill of winter gives way to spring you can almost detect a subtle resistance in the air, as if the sky is not quite ready to relinquish its blustery might, its ironic ability to halt the various processes of nature herself. I’m in the infamous park that crowns a hill running through the 19-and-over playground surrounding Hongdae, well known as a site of public carousing, a place where you can lay with your back flat against the soggy intercessional grass and knock back a tall can, spend time with your significant other, or simply graze in the sonic pasture of the merry agitation concomitant to impromptu public gatherings. On this particular day, however, the grounds are empty, save an elderly couple standing oddly apart from each other, apparently amusing themselves with some fallen branches and rocks. I'm getting suspicious about the expectant boughs that crowd into my upward gaze because I can't tell whether they're beckoning me towards the tender comfort of the heavens, or warning me about the imminent threat of being swallowed by the ominous mass of gigantic grayness that has settled into the sky and looms above, expansive and emitting a vague woefulness. I had, after living in Korea for a year, somewhat spitefully dubbed it "the land of eternal mist”, as a result of my dread of any region that isn’t constantly showered with unhealthy amounts of UVs. It took a while to be able to overcome the paralyzing languor that generally accompanies the continual presence of said grey expansive mass of low hanging clouds throughout the skies over the country of Han. According to my approximation – which is by no means objective – no less than 200 of the 365 that I'd lived here had been days like this, where the very essence of melancholy rises up out of the ocean's tumultuous facade and gathers into discrete packets of sodden atmospheric cotton, which then get flung across the atmosphere where they roam freely until, heavy and laden with accumulated moisture, they descend upon us in semi-predictable drift patterns. I don't suppose that this phenomenon is wholly an invention of my imagination, but it may be true that I have an undue sensitivity to it, mostly because it is so utterly different from the perpetual California sun that I'm used to. And when I finally do shake off this melancholia, a cool gust swirls and eddies as it brushes across my face and, as if on cue from some hidden stage director, I look up to see a small opening start to form in the lugubrious ceiling; the cupped hand of some smooth deity reaches down and makes gentle swirling motions


Gwangju News August 2009

as if making cotton candy in slow motion. The oppressive celestial cloak is finally torn to shreds of cirrus-like wisps and scattered across the sky to reveal a preternaturally blue beyond, which sight often occasions feelings of liberation, relief from the oppressive rule of feisty Juno, a relief tempered, however, by knowledge of the dreaded fog’s certain return. You might think, considering my anti-fog sensibilities, that I would find the thunderous tempests which ravage Korea every summer objects of immense fear and trepidation. In truth, I enjoy the roaring thunder and revelations-style down pour that monsoon season brings; the awesome power of nature is beautiful even when it's destructive, the sole caveat being a clear lack of human injuries, which seems to be the case here in Korea, at least as concerns this particular seasonal phenomena. It’s a treat to sit at home and listen as the thunder breaks with an air-shattering boom, rattling windows, and causing adolescent girls in the surrounding area to emit high-pitched shrieks at various degrees of blood-curdling; not that they seem to think they need a reason to do so. On nights like that the sky doesn't play around with mist and shadows, but becomes enveloped by an eminent darkness, a black void the likes of which I have never had the pleasure to observe in my native California. And when the sun does chance to show its face again the relief is correspondingly absolute, a stark contrast to the void which preceded it. Perhaps the difference in emotive effect lies in the definite relief offered by the cessation of a decidedly temporary situation, as opposed to the ambiguous and temporary relief of a seemingly permanent situation. The cloak doesn't seem to be lifting today. Despite that, and despite the occasionally suffocating humidity that has crept into the air, the birds are engaging in their curious sing-song, it hasn't started to rain, and the elderly couple has conjoined with several other couples. They are sitting on the ground together, playing Go-Stop, drinking soju, and talking loudly; a clear sign of hearty enjoyment which I can’t help but smile at. As the old folks continue about in celebration of nothing in particular, I forget about imagined sorrow and look forward to future sunny jubilations – be they few or many – with spirits and companions of all kinds; our days are short, so we must cherish them all, though not equally, but for what they are, and for what they bring. By Matthew D. Jenkins

Local Scene

the performances, the event started to be supported by citizen donors. “Last year we made a donation box in front of the stage, and many people participated more than we expected. We donated the money to the Buk-gu children’s organization for supporting kids who live with low-income families,” Herb said.

Soon-Su S

oon-su, which started performances every Friday at Gwangju Biennale Square at 8p.m. beginning last year, showcases a variety of music genres and different bands every week. You can check the schedule on Soonsu means “Purity” in Korean which conveys a hope that performers and audiences get pleasure genuinely without seeking commercial profit. Gwangju is known as the cultural capital city in Korea, but unfortunately, there is a lack of content and places where citizens are able to feel and share the idea. Also, citizen's participation is lower than many other cities. So they have decided to create their own stage for everyone. Director, Joe Yusuk sat down for an interview to explain that Gwangju now has the addition of Soonsu to its cultural scene. “Soon-su is almost entirely run by volunteers and donations, so performers can get just a small amount for a performance fee. Although our performers do not care about the money, they just enjoy the atmosphere that citizens have a delightful time with the music. After their performances, many bands commented that they had a really good time to communicate with the audience,” Joe said. This event originated by a fellowship of a man named Herb and a person involved in welfare. Their goal is to make diverse opportunities for citizens to enjoy culture in everyday life. As people got to know about

“Also, we would like to introduce diversity of music, so we were showing different kinds of music every week. We don't mind that the band is professional or amateur, as long as the audience is happy we don't really care about that. However, we do have a standard when we decide the bands that are going to play. Some of music should have some popularity so that audience can understand and assimilate the music ... In April and May, the weather was a little bit chilly so just few people attended, but since the weather became warmer, we expect many more people to come,” Herb said. For a concert on the street, the weather is an important factor. “We should always focus on what the weather would be like every Friday. Sometimes we had to cancel the performance because of heavy rain”, director Joe said. During the rainy season, he informs people via the website whether the concert will take place or not. They have a meeting for staff and operators each week. All the members cooperate under this effective system, which kicks into gear once the operators plan the program and the staff check to find the necessary equipment for the event. “Gwangju is the city of culture. We hope that our performance helps people have a chance to feel music in a fast-paced life. We want to be a pioneer to develop this kind of concert in this qualified cultural city,” Joe said. The director Joe wrapped the interview up saying: “The most important thing is participation of citizens. It will be the only way to continue this music concert. For our group, music is an emotional rest.” It was amazing to watch people gather as time goes by and we concentrated in every movement of the event. We were the ones who remained delighted by the music until it finished. It was a wonderful night with the Soon-su music performance. By Kim Yea-lim & Ahn So-young

Gwangju News August 2009



Written by Edward Lyons Below the Springs on the Rainbow River Nighttime mist, drifting off the water, has filled the whole air. Young people from the suburbs, tired and amazed how last evening such love, such love of being, being Here could have flowed like candlelight, their melded voice around the four guitarists, now, like awakening birds, salute the day. She stirs the ashes; he lays needles and twigs on the dim coals, and the breakfast fire kindles. Unfocused strummings Invade the shattering mist. In twos and threes, They wander toward the table. <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

Bright laughter & the smell of woolen coats in the damp night air— & I wonder & I lose my sense of words, & I lose my bearings so it seems that even the atoms of our cells flash between us, heart lungs & liver— the marrow of our ribs beneath the cold stars such waves emanate between she & I merging in the soft harmonics of a dream & a dream intertwined with the waves of light the impact of her soft hair & so she is my queen & companion & the rain is streaming down The windows—


Gwangju News August 2009

Though I contain Though I contain the seeds of every kind of love Still I reign the feelings that would fly as lightning slings the sky Nor can I discern where my emotions end & hers begin we’ve yet to learn the destiny that drives us from within whether we are apart or spending time together And though she stands at the intersection of a thousand dreams and foreign lands speaking through the rhythms of her hands until my heart is bursting at the seams with melody of every tenderness & though I bless The minutes that she weaves through magic hours like springtime flowers & autumn leaves still I’m afraid that in the forest of her soul In light & shade I’d lose my way for after all of this I do not know her better than I do today it’s hard to tell what is & isn’t so on the heart’s high wire I hold her hand where far below the ocean waters roll and break on the rocks & the shifting sand

Cold Nights Sometimes One soul’s relentless expansion Through broadening circles of experience And moods like varied landscapes Of a thousand journeys The back roads of autumn Cities The woods below are bare And at night You can see the lights of the turnpike You can see through the trees To such days So much that it all comes too fast Those voices arrayed across the land To wander where I am And how far I’ve come Athens New Orleans Miami Atlanta Philadelphia All lie behind, and what ahead? New York? Bogotá? Such dreams, such conflicts Always further, embracing The stars burn in these cold nights Distant Are the palms and the ocean winds Distant The caresses, the morning sun And a glass of orange juice. I am a wanderer Returning home, yet moved By other ties, sensing That I will leave again That my home is everywhere, that life Has yet to give me all, and I live Without what I cannot live without Not knowing what I have to know to live Waiting for a day that has no shape Learning To die in full ripeness To give in all perfection Living The cold nights have lost their terror I ride again On a dark horse Beside a pale lake.

Sometimes I am dazed by the enormity of the blood that has already gone into the Struggle Sometimes dismayed by the vastness of what we resist Sometimes charmed in moments of utter mastery the perfect dance of a community at home in a new ethos Sometimes angry with the obtuseness of a culture we all too often encounter Sometimes bored With speeches with which I agree Sometimes on fire with the force of Music its intelligence an absolute diamond Sometimes in love with a woman or several women or a special kind of woman Sometimes turned off by an average woman who looks like an average woman or wants to be one for an average man Sometimes lucid and grokking1 vast patterns of reality Sometimes confused about what I’m supposed to do Sometimes disgusted with patriotic economic platitudes Sometimes digging my way out of slagheaps & dross Sometimes I feel like I can fly

grokking1 "To Grok" was coined by Robert Heinlein in this classic novel Stranger in a Strange Land, and was adopted by writers from the counterculture, like Tom Wolfe and Abby Hoffman. It means understanding, to grasp, intuit, or to know through subjective interpenetration.

Gwangju News July 2009


Art Scene

Gu Ji Hoy G

u Ji Hoy, the Suncheon artist who has mastered ink and watercolor techniques and takes viewers on flights of fancy via playful twists of perspective and knowledgeable use of negative space, offers a vast wonderland in his latest work. It takes years of practice to be able to make an expressive pass with a watercolor brush, knowing it will succeed in capturing not just the emotions of the moment, but a subject suitable to inject characters into. In watercolor and ink there are no second chances. Unlike oils, or many other media, such as acrylic, any attempt to edit a watercolor turns to muddy brown in a hurry. The delicate details Gu achieves are not from careful brushwork, but by expressing his innermost feelings. He confidently approaches each sheet of rice paper like an emotive calligrapher. If art catches our eye, we need not know why or how the work was created. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s better to make our own stories about the art than to have interpretations forced on us by art historians or, God forbid, critics. As such, these works compel us to slow down, enjoy the simple things in life, and reflect upon parts of nature we may miss in our urban travels.


Gwangju News August 2009

Giant expressionist tree towers over a man and beast who admire a temple feature; cranes fly through a valley that could just as easily be the edge of bamboo trees; a grasshopper with oddly human legs dances under a branch and abstract storm. These images make you wish you could jump in and escape the grind by drinking tea with a frog or learn the language of the grasshopper or crane. Guâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s artistic expertise match his medium well as strong ink splotches give way to soft watercolors, and major tempests subside under the spell of the flying crane. Later, entire birds are made from flings of ink, filled with random color splotches that further attest to the faith Gu has that, no matter the expressive beginning, a successful end is always attainable. This is rare in the small but powerful genre known as abstract expressionism. In the beginning, artists like Jackson Pollack and Al Held experimented, but did not attain expressionist perfection, because they were too precise in their drippings and splotches. Here we have an artist who holds nothing back, lets emotion rule the moment, and still creates lasting images and complex

Gu drew friends from all over the country to his opening, and toasted the crowd with a fun dinner afterward. In a system famous for charging artists to show, and in which sales are often a matter of extreme persistence, three hours of joviality is the payoff for years of hard work. Art isn’t easy anywhere. The large markets attract thousands of artists, and the small markets starve the artists that live there. stories. Gu’s work is admirable from the point of view of traditional watercolor art and contemporary expressionism. This combination is rather rare, even in Korea, a country packed with talented painters. My favorite is the small, rotund artist toasting a wellthrown splotch: it is self-reflective humor and pure expressionism at the same time. At his Seoul Opening at the impressive Mulpa Space (the gallerist Son Lasok also has a gallery in Beijing) Gu introduced many speakers who found merit in his work. It’s a time of his career when even the artist smiles at the “new ones.” A young attendee asked me why I had compared Gu with Pollock or Held, when the obvious comparison would be to De Kooning. Hmmm, true, the mix of expressionism and form (especially between De Kooning’s “women” and Gu’s “birds” would be a more direct line. But it’s the nerve to remove the brush from the canvas by an inch or a meter and let emotions spark the movement that most distinguishes Gu from his predecessors. These moments of fling may come at the end of a stroke, or, it appears, at the beginning. Either way, they prove a mastery of technique plus a faith in unabashed expression.

Thus, for Gu Ji Hoy, and most artists in Korea, a lifelong pursuit of better pictures is an act of faith akin to shaving one’s hair to join the Seunim: not many family members will jump for joy when you declare your fine art major, as it could well mean that they will be buying your art the rest of your life. However, even in the very restrictive, rarely embraced, art marketplace of 2009, some artists continue to break through the ice that expands in economic hard times, to make work so impressive that it can not be resisted. Gu is one of these artists, and he is worthy of a drive in the countryside to find his teahouse among the farmers this side of Suncheon. His website is: By Doug Stuber Photos provided by Gu Ji Hoy

Gwangju News August 2009


Newcomer’s Corner

Reflections on Kimbap Triangles

First Impressions We stepped off the bus into the early-summer humidity. The terminal was empty, except for one Korean man who we would learn was our school director. It was late – somewhere around 3 or 4 in the morning – I wasn’t sure. My girlfriend and I had been travelling for nearly 24 hours (I think), and I had slept maybe an hour or two the whole trip. I was disoriented and tired, and just wanted to go to the head teacher’s apartment and sleep. Apparently, while we were somewhere over Alaska, the Korean government had a minor freak-out and decided that all foreign teachers would have to spend a week in quarantine to ensure they didn’t have the dreaded pig flu. As our arrival coincided with the first day of this new rule, we were granted a surprise “vacation” in a hotel near our school. Fine with me, I had learned a while back that it was a lot easier to go with the flow. And besides, I was exhausted. I just wanted to get some sleep. I remember our first trip out of our hotel. We stopped at a local 7-11 to see what the Korean version of an American convenience store looked like (turns out, they’re fairly similar). We had heard about this great Korean food – sort of like sushi rolls, but without the


Gwangju News August 2009

raw fish – that was available at most convenience stores and we were really excited to try some out. “Which one’s the kimbap?” she asked, as we stared at some seaweed-wrapped triangles in the cooler. “I thought it looked like sushi rolls?” “I don’t know, what do they say?” “I can’t read Korean!” “Do you see any English?” “No, but I see beer over here. And this has a picture of ramyeon on it. Let’s just eat that." Needless to say, my girlfriend and I have learned a lot since those first timid steps into the city. We’ve figured out how to order food at a restaurant without pointing at pictures on the wall. We’ve learned how to play charades with the ajummas at the market and avoid receiving enough garlic to kill a swarm of vampires. And we now know that kimbap comes in both cylindrical and triangular varieties, and that the triangular ones are more portable. But I know that we still have a long way to go before this place starts to feel like “home” to us. We’ve started learning the alphabet, but I can barely speak rudimentary Korean. We’re shopping at the market more, but I can’t cook anything more than a basic stirfry. And we’ve enjoyed many Korean foods, but I still don’t particularly like kimchi.

I remember talking to my Mom one day who was rather upset that I hadn’t been posting to my blog more often (or more accurately, at all). “Why haven’t you been writing more?” she asked. I hesitated a bit, because the question was bothering me too. I had kept a blog while studying abroad in Dakar, the capital city of Senegal. I loved being able to share crazy stories with my friends and family back in the States, and I felt that the search for new stories gave me a sense of perspective that helped me adjust to the more difficult aspects of Senegalese life. The opportunity to start blogging again was one of the things I looked forward to most about moving to Korea. And yet weeks after arriving, I still hadn’t written a single post. “Korea’s not all that different from the States,” I told her. “There’s beer and ramen in all the convenience stores, there’s plenty of bars around town, and you can find peanut butter at the local mega-mart.” The truth was, nothing seemed crazy enough, weird enough, frustrating enough, or different enough to write home about. In Dakar, I once walked to school past a huge herd of cattle that by the time I walked back had been turned into a couple-dozen bubbling vats of meat. In Gwangju, I live two minutes from school, and the weirdest thing I’ve seen on my walks in has been a team of ajummas scraping paint off of a concrete wall. In Dakar, ice cream was our special taste of home. Here, I can get a Whopper from Burger King and wash it down with a Bud if I want. I don’t mean to talk so much about Dakar since I was asked to share my first impressions about Gwangju but after thinking about it for a while I can’t help but compare the two. More than being the biggest, the best-lit, and sorry, most architecturally challenged city I’ve been to, I realize that Gwangju will be the most difficult place I’ve ever lived. Don’t get me wrong, Dakar was no cakewalk. It was the poorest city I’ve ever lived in. The stench of garbage

rotting in the heat, merchants harassing you in crowded, colorful markets until they ripped you off, and the Senegalese family we returned to every night constantly reminded us that we were strangers. There were no foreigner bars to escape to, nor were there any mega-marts to buy your favorite food from back home. We were thrown in headfirst, and forced to confront the culture. It was sink or swim. I’m afraid that Gwangju has none of those same inyour-face characteristics of Dakar that forced us to swim. On the surface, life in Gwangju seems very similar to life in any large American city. My sense is that it is too easy to get caught on that surface, to float through town and avoid the difficult “Korean” things: to go only to foreigner bars, to shop only at the megamart, and to interact with Koreans only in the classroom. But I also believe that if I avoid the difficult “Korean” things, I’ll miss out on everything worth seeing and doing here. I didn’t come to Korea because it was like home, I came because I wanted to have more stories to write and I wanted to discover Korea’s rich, deep, and ancient culture. In my first few months, I’ve slowly realized that I won’t be pushed to learn about that history and culture, I’ll have to jump. I anticipate that this will be the hardest part about living in Gwangju. That all too often it will be easier to go for the familiar beer and ramyeon at the mini-mart, instead of pulling the strange seaweed triangle off of the shelf. By Jake Melville

Gwangju News August 2009


Point of View

On Expectations I

moved to Korea in July 2007 with plans, dreams, and expectations. I would experience the dynamic “soul” of Asia. I would travel extensively. I would embrace my new cultural paradigm: I would eat Korean, speak Korean, maybe even think Korean. I would love my job; after all, what’s better than hanging out with smart kids all the livelong day? But as I sit in my apartment on a July afternoon, watching the rain and wondering how two years could evaporate so quickly, I must admit that I’ve been caught off-guard by much of my experience in Seoul. Some of the surprises have been beautiful, some have been annoying; a few have been downright ugly. But that’s life, I suppose – a sequence of surprises. For me, the first surprise was the food. I read in an outdated travel guide (read: early nineties material) that most restaurants in Korea are small, cash-based, and exotic. I read that they serve various incarnations of fish, squid, and kimchi; that a foreigner might travel an hour for some familiar cuisine, so he’d better learn to like Korean food, and learn quickly. I arrived in Seoul on a steamy July night in 2007, and my host family – a couple from the school where I was to work – offered to take me out for a late dinner. I was exhausted, but I accepted, and so we strolled through downtown Junggye-dong a little after midnight. We walked past a Pizza Hut. We walked past an Outback Steakhouse. I saw Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, a bagel shop, a hot dog place, and a handful of sandwich restaurants. We ended up at Kimbap Cheonguk, that veritable mainstay of latenight dining, and I ate neither fish nor squid but a bowl


Gwangju News August 2009

of mild ramyeon. I washed it down with a Coke, and wondered if I was really in Korea. Heidi Charlton, an English teacher in northeast Seoul, agrees. “I’m a picky eater,” she said. “I was legitimately worried, when I first came to Korea, that I’d find very little satisfaction in my cuisine; I couldn’t have been more mistaken. I’ve eaten a variety of good foods in Korea: I’ve eaten American classics, middle eastern kebabs, and Indian curries; I’ve found my favorite snack foods, great bottles of wine, and few East Asian delicacies that I genuinely enjoy as well.” Aleithia Burgess, a teacher on Jeju Island, prepares much of her food at her apartment, as foreign restaurants are somewhat sparse there. “I had anticipated that food would be more difficult than it ended up being,” she said. “Sure, anything imported costs an arm and a leg, but with several exceptions, I've been able to find most things that I want.” Food, of course, is only one piece of the intricate Korean puzzle. Western travel guides often describe Korean culture as a bit isolationist, a bit standoffish. In many respects, such a characterization is misleading. Gentry Ferrell taught English in Seoul from 2007-08. She was struck not by the detachment, but by the interest and curiosity of the Korean people she met, particularly in contrast with her experiences in other Asian contexts. “I never expected to field questions about my marital status,” she said. “That was one thing that threw me for a loop. I found Koreans much more solicitous than I expected because of my Japanese experience, so I was surprised by the more common, relaxed, and emotive

displays as well as the personal questions.” Kelly Shepherd, who taught in both Gwangju and Seoul, has another take on Korean culture. He acknowledges that he’s a bit isolated, but sees that isolation as a positive thing. “I expected that experiencing the ‘outsider’ status would be much more difficult to handle,” he said. “But most of the time, I've found it enjoyable. I expected culture shock, for example, but I think in reality I've experienced the opposite. I find that I crave Western things and people less and less as time goes on, not the reverse.” Of course, as with any society, there are drawbacks to Korean culture; these tend to catch us off-guard as well. Karen Shepherd, an English teacher, addressed a small but very real nuisance. “Spitting is a national sport here,” she observed. “In Gwangju, I found it alarming and so gross when men would consistently spit as a foreigner walked by. All told, about 20 times a day, someone would spit as I walked directly by.” Gentry Ferrell commented on a more upsetting experience. “I never really thought about being confronted with behaviors that constituted child abuse by the standards of my cultural/ethical background,” she said. “I was horrified on several occasions both by what some students endured and by what seemed like a total absence of power to protect the students.” Troubling, indeed. Sometimes our expectations as we leave for a foreign country have more to do with the nature of things back home. I think I subconsciously believed that life in the States would sort of wait for me to catch it back up. On the contrary, life at home hums along much like it does here in Asia; try as I might, I can’t quite stay plugged in. So during the American presidential election last fall, I eagerly watched CNN videos when my Internet connection would allow them, and I submitted my absentee ballot, but I missed the rallies; I missed the

local coffee-shop chatter. At a time when so many Americans came together to celebrate democracy and possibility, I felt detached and excluded. It was frustrating. For Aleithia Burgess, the detachment has been even more personal. “Just because I'm here in Korea, that doesn't mean that time has stopped for everyone back home,” she said. “Friends have gotten engaged; friends have gotten married; friends have gotten pregnant; friends have had babies. I know that I've grown and changed a lot too, and I think it will be strange to be home and to compare the divergence of my own path with the paths of those people I care about.” I think the onus is on us, as foreign guests in Korea, to discover what Korea really means. I’ve known several teachers whose expectations proved overpowering; they left, dejected, when they realized that Korea didn’t line up with how they imagined it would. For Karen Shepherd, the very unpredictability of life here has made it rewarding. “Travel here is amazing,” she said. “Much better than in Canada. It's cheap and easy, even if you don't speak the language. And it's so safe here. I feel great not having to look over my shoulder every time I go out.” As for myself: it’s been a mixed bag. And there are frustrating moments still, when my expectations fail to line up with my realities, and I’m left puzzled, irritated, or perhaps pining for the comforts of home. But there are other moments when I am delighted: when this behemoth of a city is picturesque; when someone stops to lend a helping hand. When I find the familiar mixed in with the foreign; when I realize that Korea is a living, vibrant country that defies so many of our stereotypes, that is seeking, much as we are, to shape and define itself. Expectations are inevitable. But it’s the sheer unpredictability of life that makes it such a grand adventure. Story & Photos by Joe Dugan

Gwangju News August 2009


New Currency

New Bank note, 50,000 Won Bill I

f you pass by a hair salon at Geumnam-ro, Gwangju, you can see a sign of an event that offers a perm for 50-thousand won.

"We launched the event to commemorate the issue of the 50-thousand-won bank note. This is kind of a strategy after the government started making the new bill." said Choi Yu-ri, an employee of the shop. The Bank of Korea began to circulate the 50-thousandwon bill on June 23rd. It features a picture of Shin Saimdang who was a Joseon Dynasty female artist and calligraphist. She is regarded as a model of Confucian ideals. The back of the bill is printed with drawings called Walmedo by Lee Mongrung and Pungjukdo by Lee Jeong. Both of them are well-known artists of the Joseon Dynasty. The color of the bill is yellow and red and it measures 154mm in width and 68mm in length. The Bank of Korea expects that the circulation of the 50-thousand-won bill will encourage people to spend money, and this will be a way to lead to a new vitality in the economy. In fact, some people worry that this new bill will provoke inflation. "It is true that people can spend money easier as the monetary value goes down, however, basically I think the bill of a big amount like 50-thousand-won is necessary for economic development" mentioned Lee Houghjoon, former professor in the Department of Law at Chonnam National University. He said it can have a psychological effect that makes people save money. According to him, it can be psychologically harder to use the 50-thousand-won bill than the 10,000-won bill. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Lots of events related to the 50-thousand-won bill will be held and people's consumption will increaseâ&#x20AC;? said Choi So-ra, a student of Chosun University. On the other hand, Charlie Boyce from Saint Louis MO. in the United States mentioned that the monetary unit of the bill doesn't affect his consumption at all. He insists that it totally depends on personal judgment. Many different responses proved Charlie right, that individuals have different reactions to the new money. The fact that some people are not aware of all the


Gwangju News August 2009

aspects of the bill, like the watermark, and what the holograph looks like makes fake bills more likely. "There is a possibility for the increase of the forgery of this bill. I heard from the news that an elementary student copied a 50-thousand-won bill and used it at a supermarket" said Kang Hojin, student of Dongsin University. "Some people might be confused between 50thousand-won bill and 5-thousand-won bill because the color is very similar" mentioned Kim Youngjin, student of Chosun University. The larger denomination may help foreign workers feel more at home, as most foreign countries have a variety of bills, meaning people do not have to walk around with a thick stack of money denominated in lower amounts, like 10,000 won It is true that the debut of 50-thousand-won bill is a big hit. It is significant that the new bill was issued 35 years after the last one was released. We could see diverse opinions about it. One of the staff of Gwangju International Center gave us the following opinion: "There are a variety of opinions about the new bill. I think it will take time to see how it works" By Ahn So-young Staff photo


Gwangju News August 2009


Local Scene

Asian Youth Culture Festival O

n Saturday, the fourth of July, foreigners started to gather at Dae-in market. You might wonder what had brought these unusual guests to the market, since foreigners are rare there. You might have seen these strangers run to and fro, clutching their black plastic bags or fruit. Or you might have seen them stare at white-shirted volunteers with excitement and anticipation. On this day, it may not have been too strange a scene to see a blue-eyed female carefully eyeing one of her friends as she drinks what appears to be rice floating in white, semi-transparent water, then chug the same drink herself. These scenes are what spectators might have seen during the second UNESCO Asian Youth Culture Festival at Dae-in Market. Dae-in was used to these types of crowded Saturdays before the bus station moved, and the younger generation gravitated toward mega-mart shopping. The festival in Dae-in market was a part of third UNESCO Asian Youth Forum that was hosted in an attempt to offer solutions to the global crisis the world is facing today. Participants from 22 Asian nations


Gwangju News August 2009

included not only youngsters, but also heads of different organizations in charge of various youth programs. There were also participants and volunteers from South Africa, Russia, the United States and Canada. The festival, involving the participants of the forum, the citizens of Gwangju, and foreigners in Gwangju, aimed to provide a meeting ground for people of different cultural backgrounds so that the participants might enjoy cultural diversity. The festival also allowed activists and organizations in Gwangju to strengthen and expand their network among themselves. The festival lasted for eight hours (from 10:00~18:00) and events included the Amazing Race, My Name Is, ALBA, Asia Market, Dae-in Buffet, Guess & Pass, From-To, Peace By Piece, and Where Do You Live Now? Amazing Race Modeled after CBS's popular reality adventure program 'Amazing Race', the festivalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s counterpart of the Amazing Race was designed to allow its participants to interact with various people of the market and to learn the unique values of an open-air market by completing different missions. The event

was planned to last for four hours (11:00~15:00) but, due to the participants efficiency in carrying out the missions, the event finished earlier than anticipated. First and second prizes were given to one team each and the third prize was given to two teams. The ceremony of awarding prizes was conducted at an outside concert hall. Teams were made up of different cultures, and jumping cultural hurdles helped teams compete. My Name is This event was an ongoing one throughout the entire festival. Names in different languages brought by the participants were printed onto T-shirts. Through this program people gained little snippets of knowledge of each othersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; cultures. The T-shirts were a big success and sold out. ALBA ALBA, Accompany; Learn; Be Active, was one of the highlights of the festival. Lasting for four hours, this corner allowed the participants to engulf themselves in the extraordinary culture of Dae-in Market where art and business delicately coexist. Asia Market Asia Market aimed to introduce different facets of markets all around the globe. Not only could participants purchase artsy items sold in the market, but the partakers of the events could also bring and sell items of their own. There were also photos of open air markets around the globe on display. Participants also got to work with market regulars in grain shops, fish shops, and restaurants, selling produce, shucking nuts, or trying to lure Gwangju citizens to buy something with their exotic accents and often newly-learned Korean phrases.

Dae-in Buffet Different food items gathered from the market, consisting mostly of traditional Korean entrees, were assembled in a long and comparatively restful alley in the market. The entrees were labeled with their names with main ingredients in small laminated cards. Also written on these cards were folklores associated with individual food items. Volunteers, participants and staff mingled together and taking a break for lunch before heading out to do more multicultural activities. Guess & Pass Once a popular Korean TV show, Guess and Pass was revived in the market from two to four p.m. In the market version of Guess and Pass, contestants were asked a number of questions regarding Korean culture and tradition. Again participants were teamed up in groups of two, almost always from different countries. Peace-by-Piece This was a stop in which participants shared words of peace in different languages, by making personal postcards. The Gwangju International Center (GIC) Artists Collective provided guidance (but very little) as participants painted, drew, made collages and colorfully spread their versions of peace on postcards. These cards were collected and instantly displayed behind the art tables. They will also be part of an art exhibit that opens at the GAIA gallery in the GIC Sunday September 6, 3-6 p.m. Other events included ones such as From-To, an effort not to propagandize Dae-in Market as the center of Asian markets but to establish close links with other open-air markets in Asia, and Where Do You Live? .

By Kang Young-gu & Noh In-woo Staff Photos

Gwangju News August 2009


Cultural Brotherhood

International Students M eeting


he First International Students Meeting held in Gwangju, brought students together to understand domestic and foreign cultures better

Multi-cultural Playground These days there are a rapidly increasing number of foreign students in Gwangju. Despite this increase there are not so many formal meetings designed specifically for international students. So, on June 27th, the first I.S.M. (International Students Meeting ) meeting was convened at the Gwangju International Center to increase understanding and breach the cultural gap between Foreign and Korean students and promote friendship among students. Each month the meetings have a different theme and do various kinds of activities to help understand each other and promote friendship. The I.S.M. consists of five core members (Ganbold Solongo, Kim Yae Lim, Lee Kee Eun, Noh In Woo, Subashi Adhikari ) and participants who wanted to attend the meeting. Any university undergraduate or graduate student in Gwangju is free to join if they want. This month’s theme was “multi-cultural playground.” We improved understanding of international cultures by cooking


Gwangju News August 2009

(Korean, Nepalese, Chinese dishes) and learning traditional games together.

Start The meeting started at 7 p.m. and there were 16 students who came, wanting to know each other and each other’s cultures. At first, there was an introduction about the I.S.M. and everyone introduced themselves. The students’ faces were full of anticipation about meeting new friends. There were friends from various countries in Africa and Asia: Bangladesh, China, Korea, Mongolia, Tanzania and Nepal.

Cooking Time After introduction time, there was cooking time. Students came to understand each other and other cultures by cooking Korean, Nepalese, Chinese dishes. Students divided into three groups, one group experienced making kimbap and others made muchae (radish shreds) and rice pudding. It was surprising to see foreign students on a kimbap team who were so good at rolling kimbap while the muchae team had to shred the radish, not an easy

task. Everyone became closer friends at this time and enjoyed themselves by learning new dishes.

In the end

After cooking, we had supper made from dishes the members had made “from scratch.” It was more delicious, because they made it in person. Kimbap, muchae, rice pudding and Chinese coke chicken; it was so special to taste foods from other countries.

At the conclusion of the meeting students sat in a circle and played a game that helped them memorize friend’s names. While playing the game, students learned more than each other’s name. They also learned a lot more about different cultures, and the individuals they played with. After the game, students gave their contact numbers and e-mail addresses to each other and pledged to meet again.

Play Time (Learn Korean and Mongolian games)

Opinions from Friends


After supper, we had time to learn the Korean game ‘Kongki’ and the Mongolian game ‘Salhan’. Kongki is a game you have to pick up marbles while throwing another marble. And Salhan is a game in which participants throw a lamb’s ankle bone and get a point by hitting the same-shaped bones. Everyone enjoyed the games and we were surprised that there are similar games in their countries, too. Although, we are from different countries, we felt peoples’ lives are similar, even if they appear very different at first view.

1. Phil Ok Ki (China) I really enjoyed tonight’s meeting. I had made dishes with friends from other countries and had supper together, and played games. I am really happy that I made new friends here and I promise to come here next month, too. 2. Kim Sol (Korea) At first, it was little embarrassing to cook dishes with friends I had just met. I was worried, because I didn’t know what to do. But, during cooking I adapted to the situation and got closer to new people. As expected, I think food has the power to make people positive. The foods were delicious and everyone was so kind. I am really happy to see friends from new world. There is an I.S.M. meeting every month. Any student who wishes to join is welcome. In August, there will be a trip to a local venue chosen by the members. Any student who wants to join just has to write their name, school, and contact address (e-mail, phone number) to or contact to 010-6602-2400. Story & Photos by Lee Kee-eun

Gwangju News August 2009


Local Art

GAIA Gallery Grand Opening T

he GAIA Art Gallery, on the fifth floor of the Jeon-il Building downtown, held its first art show with an opening reception on July 5. It was made possible by a grant from the Global Village Project of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to GAIA: the Gwangju Association of International Artists. The show was comprised of two local foreign artists who have a natural passion for photography and other art they create. Jocelyn Stokes, 24, USA, has resided in Korea for almost 10 months now, and she exemplifies a knack for nature photography, but also takes an interest in painting. The other artist on hand for the grand opening was Allen Gray from the South Island of New Zealand. He has not been hesitant to see the world around him. He has photographed many countries he has visited. He had photographs of China, Nepal, India and many more on display. It is not too late to see what Stokes and Gray have to offer. These pieces will continue to grace the walls of the gallery until September 1. Stokes began her photography career soon after she learned how to walk and talk. "I began taking photos when I was about six years old," Stokes said. She did not let her little hands get in the way of taking photos. Her eyes were doing most of the work for her. It was then that countless rolls of film were spent outside in nature. Stokes would take photos of clouds, trees, bugs, squirrels and other little critters. She has since moved onto much more dangerous wildlife. She also bought her first digital camera, but only two months ago. Last year, while she was working for a photography company in the United States, she spent three months in Alaska taking professional photos for her clients. But in her down time, she took advantage of her location, and captured all the natural beauty that Alaska has to offer, including grizzly bears. "One day in Alaska, I took a photo of a grizzly bear. It was pretty scary." She thought she landed her dream job. Life could not


Gwangju News August 2009

get any better for a graduate of photography school. It was the first job she had after graduating from her university in Oregon, but she soon found out it was not what she really desired. "It didn't allow me to be creative. I would just take photos of whatever my clients needed. I was traveling all around the country living in hotels and I never saw my loved ones. I figured that I needed to move on and try to make it as a freelance photographer," Stokes said. This brave adventurist took the next step in her life and came to Korea in August, 2008 to become an English teacher. She has been enjoying it ever since and has been inspired since the day her plane landed in Seoul. She will be moving on to her next adventure this upcoming September, when she will embark on the opportunity of her dreams. Talk about being inspired by things in Korea: Stokes will be shooting photos to be

Srinagar in India, Allen Gray

Srinagar in India, Allen Gray

Russia, Allen Gray

China, Allen Gray

used to help Asian environmental Non-Government Organizations. She has explored other mediums for expressing her art since she arrived. Shortly after coming to Korea, she found a discarded mannequin in the trash outside her apartment. For Stokes, it only made sense to unleash all the beauty this female torso had to offer. She painted it for three days a week for eight months before she was finished. It was her first big painting project. "Usually I focus on conceptual work, but with this one, I was mainly focused on the pure beauty of it," Stokes

said. This can be found on display at the GIC, along with ten of her best photos. She wants to use her ability for a good cause. She has taken a strong interest in the environment and the factors that are currently harming it. Stokes plans on using her images of nature to further conservation projects. There are many conservation organizations in Southeast Asia and she believes she has what it takes to make the difference for them. "Southeast Asia has one of the most diverse ecosystems, because there are so many rainforests. Unfortunately, there are many people harming it, but there are a lot of people trying to help. And I'd like to be one of them," Stokes said. Her photos of nature there will be able to be used to obtain funding to go toward substantial environmental organizations. These foundations help protect endangered species and cultures, such as Borneo Sun Bears, Sumatran Rhinos and Aboriginal human beings.

Gwangju News August 2009


Allen Gray is also not a stranger to traveling the world and capturing it on film. He began taking photos when he was 15 years old. Now in his early sixties, he plans to leave Korea this upcoming October after teaching English for eight years in Gwangju. He says that at least one year of being here, has been spent traveling to other countries. His uncle, a photographer himself, inspired Gray to embark on his hobby of taking photos. “My uncle is a very keen traveler and photographer, so I followed in his footsteps: we both like the world and like traveling. He was more of an inspiration. I taught myself photography mostly," Gray said. His favorite places to travel are India and China. And he has good reasons. He likes to photograph the people there and the lighting isn't bad either. "The lighting is very soft there. It isn't so harsh like in the West. The people are also very photogenic, too,” Gray said. This was not Gray’s first art show. “I was quite pleased with the turnout. It was really good. In my hometown in New Zealand I did some art shows. I'd be interested in publication. Certainly magazines,” Gray said. Before coming to Korea, he worked as a landscaper, and when he returns to his home in New Zealand, he


Gwangju News August 2009

will partake in photography projects and other hobbies that he enjoys, such as wood carvings. Gray has seen an evolution of photography since he began almost 45 years ago. He got his first digital camera four years ago and would not have it any other way. To him, it is much more convenient and much cheaper. “Back in the day, you had to get the perfect shot, because it cost about $1 just to click the shutter,” Gray said. “Now you can take all kinds of photos and it's not a big deal.” Aside from a fascination with both digital and film photography, both of these photographers will be able to take something with them when they leave Korea. Stokes said she will leave with a huge sense of inspiration for her photography, and Gray will definitely miss the friends and home he made while he was here for eight years. “I’m looking forward to my new projects back home, but I will always miss Korea. I regard it as my home,” Gray said. By Mark Hayden Photographs by Doug Stuber

GIC was established by the Gwangju City Government and Gwangju Citizens Solidarity in 1999 as a model of government and NGO collaboration. Gwangju City provides financial assistance to help GIC to carry out its missions of - providing foreigners with information and services - promoting international exchange programs in the fields of culture and economy - fostering international awareness among Korean youth

GIC has administered a number of programs in Gwangju and Jeollanam-do. Its activites of note include the following: - A Monthly Magazine Gwangju News - GIC Talk on Saturdays - Korean Language Classes - Gwangju International Community Day - GIC Library

- GIC Concert - Additional Activities: Translation Service Counseling and conflict resolution services Information Service through phone and e-mail

Membership Fees

International Residents: 10,000 won/6 months Students: 10,000 won/year Korean Adults: 5,000 won/month Please remit membership fee to: Gwangju Bank 134-107-000999 / Kookmin Bank 551-01-1475-439 / Nonghyup 605-01-355643 Account name: 광주국제교류센터 *Your contribution to the Nonghyup account is used to provide assistance to the Third World countries.

The Benefits for the Center Members The Center members are privileged to - receive the Gwangju News and the GIC newsletter every month - participate in all events sponsored by the GIC - have opportunity to develop international friendship

5th Floor, Jeon-il Bldg, Geumnam-no 1-ga, Dong-gu, Gwangju 501-758, Korea Phone: 062-226-2733~4 Fax: 062-226-2732 Website: Directions: The GIC office is located in the same building as the Korea Exchange Bank (KEB) in downtown Gwangju. The entrance is immediately north of the KEB on Geumnam-no street, across from the YMCA. Subway stop: Culture Complex 문화전당역 Bus No.: 7, 9, 36, 45, 51, 52, 53, 56, 57, 58, 59, 61, 74, 80, 95, 150, 151, 518, 1000, 1187 Gwangju News August 2009


Gwangju Activists

The Justice for Ali Khan Bike Ride , Gwangju-Daejeon Prison 7-9 July 09 T he idea for a bike ride to raise awareness and possible funding came to me a few months ago and was pitched to the volunteers already involved with the case of Ali Khan at the GIC (for more information on the case of Ali Khan please check out the November 08 Gwangju News article Introducing ... The Justice for Ali Khan Campaign’).

Julian Warmington, Kim So Ri and Jong Il.

Over the previous months the Korean language blog has generated a sufficient number of hits to gather over 700 signatures protesting for a total legal review of the sentencing of prisoner #3390 Ali Khan at Daejeon prison. I'm very proud that over 700 Koreans and foreigners living in Korea have had faith in the information we have brought to them over the last while.

It did not start well, however. A punctured tire somewhere on the outskirts of Cheomdan in the pitch black marred our arrival at the exit point for our trip. For a dreaded hour it looked like, without a supplier to get me a new tire, having my bike make the 120 km ride to Jeonju the following evening would be a miracle. With hasty visits to two bike shops we patched up the puncture as best we could and I and Jong Il arrived two hours late at the YMCA where the rest of the YMCA riders had arrived from Haenam earlier that evening. The only thing to give me confidence was Jong Il’s relating to me the Korean expression ‘A small accident before a big event brings one luck’ (if only we Brits could be so optimistic!)

The next step, it seemed to me, would be an event to mark our own collective commitment to Ali Khan's cause and to bring further awareness to the case of Ali Khan in the hope of a human rights lawyer giving proper legal attention to this case.

I awoke, after barely three hours sleep, to a large breakfast in the basement of the Cheomdan YMCA. We were to leave an hour before an interview and photos had been planned. I crossed fingers that we'd relay what needed to be relayed later on into the trip.

The bike ride was to begin in Gwangju and to arrive two days later at the gates of Daejeon prison, approximately 205 km north of Gwangju. With this first event we thought it best to involve ourselves closely with members from the Gwangju YMCA who had already planned an incredibly ambitious bike ride for the beginning of July. They were to cycle from Haenam to Gosong Reunification Observatory in Gangwondo and we had thought to join them for the Gwangju to Daejeon leg of the journey. The riders who had joined us were: Gwak Hyo Sung, Daniel Baek,

And so it was, on the morning of Tuesday 7th July, six riders from the GIC and 35 assorted riders from the YMCA walked out into the pouring rain in a strange attempt to cycle to Jeonju.


Gwangju News August 2009

And rain it did. Gutters streamed to bursting in the 7a.m. half-dawn, streams burst their banks and glasses were repeatedly wiped from under tenuously protective plastic hoods. After an hour of cycling we found ourselves among the morning traffic of highway 1 heading north out of Gwangju. Either because of the

distances due to your own efforts. It also affords you the time to really consider the reasons for doing such a thing ... in this way, a confirmation of the problems and setbacks of the case of Ali Khan, as well as giving you confidence in your own goal of wanting a fair trial for a hugely mistaken prisoner. These were the thoughts that circled through my head as we made our way across the first 50 kms towards Jeonju. Four hours of further cycling and we found ourselves joining the busy rush hour traffic of Jeonju, having completed the first 120 km of our trek. So Tuesday had been the hardest day. Tomorrow would be easier.

rain or in order to keep the entire group together we stopped every hour or so to regroup, snack, and/or relate the newest horror story. About twenty km north of Gwangju we stopped at a small Mart and found cover, watching the rains pummel the trees and cars unfortunate enough to be out on this particular morning in time. Three hours in, the heavy rains lightened and the act of rain, after all this time, seemed to be less of a problem. Although we'd all been fearful that the YMCA’s pace would leave us tired out after an hour, the speed of our two-tiered convoy was actually bearable. The YMCA proved amazing at organizing how our convoy was to push ahead towards Jonju. Batons were produced at each major junction and elected individuals made sure no one strayed from the route. Shouts of encouragement sprayed the air at every major incline and even the worst prepared person, by lunch time, would have felt a little more secure travelling with the YMCA’s more experienced cyclists. A hastily prepared speech in Jeongup, after lunch, communicated to the YMCA’s riders what we were in this for. Ali Khan, a citizen of Pakistan had been held in Daejeon prison for over six years as a result of a badly executed trial and confessions gained under police torture.

In the morning I woke to the news that my bike had finally, and once again, given in to another puncture and I was obliged to borrow a spare bike from the YMCA riders while we tried to work out what had gone wrong with it (it turned out the tires had worn through so fast that I would have to buy new ones in Daejeon). In reality I wondered how my back tire even managed the 120 km to Jeonju without any problems. After a still-wet start we completed our daily morning exercises (a kind of elaborate pre-football 'dance' to these British eyes) and cycled out onto highway one again. North of Nonsan we had lunch and re-grouped ... texts and calls were made to bloggers and reporters and then ... yes. Unbelievable. Sunshine! The fifty kilometres north of Nonsan, and on into Daejeon, proved to present us with exactly the opposite problems. Heat. Sunburn. I walked for ten minutes into our next break stop 30 km south of Daejeon. The heat was doing it to everyone. Water bottles were suddenly everywhere. The mild (but long!) inclines south of Daejeon proved incredibly debilitating and so we were glad, two hours later (at around 3:30 p.m.) to finally arrive on the road into Yuseong, just south of Daejeon, where Ali Khan is imprisoned. We took photos with the YMCA and said

Legs ached but no one tired too visibly after lunch. North of Jeongup we hit that steep obstacle known as Galchae San and, as the rain came down lightly we all (slowly!) made it to the top ... to be met by the brilliant view of the largely flat lands of Jeollabuk-do. While the rain continued the wonderful view gave one pause for thought and a certain delight in attempting a journey that wasn't from behind the comfort of a train of bus window. Cycling, for me, gives you the sense of accomplishment that, yes, you've actually completed

Gwangju News August 2009


Salamat, or someone close to Salamat, was going to ‘stab him’ at the next available opportunity. I and Julian both left feeling that talking with Ali was now a very complex procedure and requires patience and sympathy... After a longwinded search for accomodation, the longneeded bike shop repair, and a late dinner we each concluded our day. Early morning, and without any discernible ring around the prison we decide to use the approach road as our symbolic ring, travelling up and down six times, each circle for each year of Khan's incarceration. Any laps made within the prison grounds could not be photographed/documented so this route seems to be the best plan (even our photos taken at/near the gate, with a zoom lense, are intensely argued about by the guards on duty).The rain starts up again on the third lap and by lap six the group is pretty much soaked to the skin. With a lot of effort, though, all six of us make it into the prison, with five of us meeting Ali Khan (three of whom meeting him for the first time).

our farewells (they would need it, they had another 70km to Cheongju that day!). With only five people confirmed as able to meet Ali Khan on Thursday morning Julian and I, with the help of Jong Il, scrabbled a late appointment with a stillconfused and depressed Ali Khan at 4 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. My impression of Ali Khan on this visit was similar to what was reported in Brian Deutsch's blog the week previous. There was talk of Khan ‘going mad’ or being ‘severely depressed’ but the reality, as ever, is a little harder to unpick. Ali Khan has become isolated, firstly, from potential visitors to the prison (in his own words he has not received any other visitors than those connected with his campaign in over 18 months) and also from those inside the prison. The person that originally confessed to the murder Khan is in prison for; Samiullah Salamat; has, for the most part, turned away from the regret he displayed four years ago (when he wrote his confession) and is now deeply resentful of Ali's presence in the prison and has convinced more than one foreign prisoner that Ali is indeed the killer that he has been painted as by the authorities. This about-turn has caused such fear in Khan that he has, on occasion, wholeheartedly believed that


Gwangju News August 2009

Hope is sometimes a painful thing to allow in one so abused. So it is with Ali Khan. Khan's continuing isolation from many inside the prison, and, as I mentioned above, Salamat's almost total about-turn from accuser, to regretful confessor, back to cold psychological games player who now holds the threat that Ali is now a wanted man in Pakistan over Ali (without any attainable evidence) must have a lot to do with Khan's continuing confusion, along with the bombings of Pakistan by U.S military that assure him (?) he perhaps will not be able to see his home country in the near future. What is apparent after my last four visits (in quick succession) is that Khan is not at all ‘insane’ in any way. He is simply a person who is incredibly nervous and worried for his own safety both in prison in the present, and possibly outside (if he is released). Now that the situation in Pakistan has worsened he sees no ‘home’ to go back to. He’s also been convinced by Salamat that, if he returns, he will be convicted for ‘unspecified crimes’ in Pakistan. No option holds much promise, and this is why Khan seems preoccupied and sometimes finds it hard to be swayed by efforts made on his behalf. All these things attest to his pain, both in his local outlook and his international outlook. The campaign will continue to look for ways his case can be transmitted to others, particularly lawyers able to take on a case of this kind, while taking into account Ali’s future well being. More actions are planned in the next few months, with

another sponsored event hopefully organised for the beginning of September (all info via the GIC website, Ali Khan blog or from me directly at For foreigners, there was also some talk of ‘political events’ like these affecting those on E-2 visas, either with trouble from hagwon or University bosses/authorities. To my knowledge actions like these are entirely legal provided one has given notice of any time away from work. Without a doubt they are entirely legal under Korean law and, if any of those participating in future events do have future problems rest assured I will be happy to visit them with Korean representatives/translators to explain how I see these actions, and foreigners' participation in them. We are also currently looking for volunteers who are able to put in a few hours every week towards different campaign goals, particularly website designers, translators and potential visitors to Ali Khan ... particularly someone in Daejeon who could spend some time with him every week in the absence of any English speaking counsellor being provided by the prison service in Daejeon. A newsletter is also in the offing from Aug/Sept. (Online petition in English, just sign your name and add your email)

(Information on Ali’s case in Korean) (Information on Ali's case in English) We are also now collecting money for a human rights lawyer for Ali Khan. For this, you can donate directly to the Ali Khan Fund Account at: Kwangju Bank 019 107 329298 User: 광주국제교류센터 Thanks go to: Kim Shing Shing at GIC for all the logistics, information gathering and anger management, all at the YMCA for their comradeship and support along the way, Michael and Ju Hyun at GFN for their reports and interest, Gwangju Dream, Brian Deutsch at ‘Brian in Jeollanamdo’, Jo McPherson at ‘ZenKimchi’, and Kimberly Hogg at ‘Socius’ for blogging on the event at the last minute, Kim So Ri and Hwan for Ali's Korean blog design, Audrey Pecott for her continued support and tireless work on the English blog, Jong Il for T-shirt and pamphlet designs, many of the artists at Daein Market for support and encouragement, Mr. Kim Dong Jo for donating a pair of cycling gloves to me in Jongeup on the way back (sore palms after over 100km into the return journey) and, mostly, to everyone who took part in the event itself.

Gwangju News August 2009


Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor, After picking up July’s issue of Gwangju News, I had to sit down and scratch my head. Just where had I seen this image of the American flag with the stars of the states replaced with corporate logos? It surely wasn’t the first time I had come across this rather banal commentary on American capitalism, and after a few moments it came back to me. When I was a freshman in college around 2003, I actually had this very image on my wall. I had cut it from the infamous American “culture-jamming” magazine, Adbusters, and a quick Google search revealed to me it was, as I thought, a copyrighted image (by Shi-Zhe-Yung under Rockport Publishers). I was incredibly taken aback that not only were there no proper citations given for the origin of the image, but also that your magazine chose to provide absolutely zero context for the implications and purpose of selecting it for the cover. I suppose the effort was a dispassionate attempt to point out the "monstrosities" of large business in the west (Pizza Hut? Really? You obviously haven’t tried the Triple Meat Italiano), but to what effect you were searching to achieve, especially in the current state of the American economy, is completely lost on me. I laughed a little out loud when I read the caption inside, “‘This land is your land, this land is my land,’ because we

Good points. The image was NOT taken from someone else but is a photograph of a flag, the flag itself did not come with a copyright, but the photographer gave us the rights to run the photo of a flag. This may be an unimportant detail, but the photograph was used by permission. Very good of you to run down the original designer of the flag, and I don't doubt that Adbusters ran a copyrighted photo by Shi-Zhe-Yung, but this photograph was not by that photographer. Our apologies to Rockport Publishing, and Shi-Zhe Yung, I did not know the photograph as anything than that of a flag. I checked the flag itself, and it doesn’t have a copyright tag on it. Your other points have validity, and this cover was chosen after two other covers were considered. The next-best cover, but one that was rejected by the publisher (or better put, by the representatives of the publisher) so we scrambled and came up with this one. It IS out of date, but I don't think the intention was to kick the US while it is down, but rather to remind people just exactly who calls the shots in the US (corporations) no matter who the President is. The lack of commentary on the inside of the magazine allows readers to interpret the cover any way they want. That three corporations + Playboy are gone or almost gone only shows just how wrong corporate thinking can be. I didn't have to tell you that though, as you already knew.


Gwangju News August 2009

own it.” Yeah, that goes for you Bell South (doesn’t exist anymore) United Air, Citigroup (both bankrupt), and Playboy (to the dismay of pubescent males across the world, also nearing bankruptcy). I point these out to show how not only is the image demonstrative of a total lack of economic and cultural contextualization; it’s also laughably dated. Like I said, I had the image on my wall. Six years ago. I was also 18 and got a C in Political Science that semester. For such a controversial image to be published outside of its intended realm of influence in both location and time, your choice of putting it as the cover was quite shocking. The timing only led to exacerbate this insipidly pedestrian attempt at social commentary, which was obviously purposeful to coincide with America’s Independence Day. In a period where the country is suffering from soaring unemployment rates, a total shifting of power, continuing war, re-structuring of the systems of taxation, health care, and civil rights, I have to wonder – why 'ya gotta kick a guy when he’s down? It would be entirely and wholly offensive if it weren’t so remarkably uninformed. Way to rage against the machine, guys. Sincerely, J Purvis

Isn't a vague cover without explanation better than the preachy editorials previously written by yours truly? Nothing I do is dispassionate, but that flag hit me as saying that corporations have more control over the US government than the "people" do. Thus, it has nothing to do with the benevolence or monstrosity of a corporation, nor is it an attempt to kick the US while it is down, since, as you say, it is so out of date. This cover could be interpreted to have something to do with my #1 passionate issue: the environment. But it takes a lot of thinking to get there: 1) corporations provide a lot of great jobs, but at what cost to the environment? 2) corporations, via GATT 2, NAFTA and other trade treaties and laws now seek the cheapest possible labor, which often causes products to be shipped back to the markets they are built for, thus worsening the environment, and costing US labor jobs, which are thereby shipped overseas 3) those laws, many of which were passed during the Clinton Administration (GATT 2, NAFTA, Welfare Reform and most prominently, the banking law that expanded a banks ability to loan money from 12 times its deposits to 30 times its deposits!!!) witnessed the end of the Democratic Party supporting the causes of environment and labor, and toward a new democratic party that was able to hammer through drastic changes in the "American Way" that Republicans dared not attempt, until a Newt Gingrich/Bill Clinton team emerged that gave corporations even more of what they wanted.

And with all this so many companies failed? Wow, can't blame labor for that! The UN points out that 16% of the earth's humans consume 80% of the products, and that less than 5% of the humans live in the US, which consumes over 25% of the earth's energy resources. What this suggests Jay, is that we are not only building products MOST humans don't need and can't afford, we are also moving the products at great cost to the environment. Granted, 22% of the fuel in the world is spent moving food, but that just shows us the vulnerability of megasized cities fed by agribusiness: if food itself is part of the for-profit world, like American health care, then humanity is lowered another peg, yes? That's what I hoped some readers would get from the cover, but how, since, as you say, there was no follow up

Re: 'The Attack on History' and Related News

inside? Mea Culpa. Ronald Reagan was right about individual diplomacy being a way to lessen the prospects of war. In a world where the battle for shrinking resources appears to be “on,” person-to-person contacts will give the prospects for peace at least a “fighting” chance. Thanks for joining the conversation! Sincerely, Doug PS: This is, as I pointed out myself one day, a community magazine. Your letter has inspired me to never again write about geopolitics in these pages. I’ll try to limit my environmental blurbs too. So, how about those Kia Tigers!? Rain enough for you lately?

Just a quick note/addendum to the editor regarding last month's article 'The Attack on History'. One reader (under a pseudonym?) had an enquiry about the picture in this article which showed Lee Myung Bak shaking hands with the former leader/dictator of South Korea Chon Doo Hwan.

at every turn. Those helping me to speak to/organise an interview with this group had constant problems finding anyone who would speak with us directly on this issue. The leader of the group (who was featured in interviews on television over the last few months but was in Seoul or busy whenever we tried to reach him) was unavailable for comment on this issue. Several members of the group were also unavailable for comment on this issue.

Just to make doubly sure, and for the foreigners who maybe do not know who Chon is, he is the leader that ordered the military to kill and 'disappear' the students and citizens of Gwangju during 5.18. One may well ask the question "Why is South Korea's current leader shaking hands jovially with the man who managed to execute, wound and imprison citizens of Gwangju only twenty nine years ago??"

The assertion that one of the protestors made outside the Provincial Office during the research made for the original article, that there was perhaps government 'involvement' at a higher level, without any corroboration to the contrary from the third group themselves, now seems more than likely (although to assert this in an official 'article' given people's general fear on the topic is now close to impossible).

The reason this picture was shown is because it was featured in the website of those protestors currently occupying the old Provincial Office, and was used as important to the perspective given in the interview for this particular report.

Given attention to ANY of these points the general reader may well come up with the same judgment as the former president Kim Dae Jung recently expressed, that Lee Myung Bak, unreservedly, 'is a dictator'

Let's also not forget that Lee Myung Bak is the first South Korean president to refuse a commemorative visit on 5.18 since the events took place 29 years ago. As a reporter on this particular topic I also tried to follow up my article by a further investigation into why the third protest group 'Protestors Imprisoned and Wounded' dropped out of efforts to save the building after the events of 5.18. This investigation drew a blank

Andrew O'Donnell

Gwangju News August 2009


Festival Review

Boryoeng Mud Festival 2009 L

ike many of its Asian neighbours, South Korea has its fair share of eccentric and peculiar festivals, but none are as outlandish and intriguing as the Boryeong Mud Festival. Held annually at Daecheon Beach on the west coast, the festival sees a staggering 1.5 million foreigners and Koreans coming together to get down and dirty. And not just a little dirty. We’re talking ‘wow, I didn’t even know dirt could go there’ dirty. So it seemed rather unnatural that my first question to myself was, ‘where’s all the mud?’ One could have been fooled into thinking it was a B.Y.O.M. (Bring Your Own Mud) festival. It is definitely a question that must be answered. The word "mud" is in the name of the festival. I was expecting various mud pools everywhere throughout the festival, but it was lacking any pools of mud to wrestle my friends in. "I thought there would be more mud, but it was fun. I had a good experience," Brad Andrews, of Canada, said. Another thing to mention is the weather. Rain, rain, rain, and did I mention rain? Not that it entirely


Gwangju News August 2009

mattered. If you’re not averse to slathering yourself in grey sludge then rain is the least of your problems. It was torrential, literally pouring in all its forms. “Overrated and under-mudded,” said a very clean Joanne Cronin, 27, of Ireland. The nasty weather conditions did nothing to dampen our celebratory spirits, and we discarded our worries and ventured out into the mire. When the time came to return to the minbak and have a nice hot shower and dry off, all we could think was “thank god for ponchos,” as using an umbrella was close to fruitless in the driving, near-gale force winds. Marion Gregory, an English teacher in Gwangju, had her first Mud Fest experience and enjoyed getting dirty, she said. "The rain kind of put a damper on things, but it was a good time and I would definitely come back again," she said. Advancing toward the foreigner bar area we came across the concert stage. The stage was flanked by basins of mud on the beach and the giant mud-slide, a quaint amphitheatre rising to the promenade where a pool of knee-deep slurry beckoned people of all ages to

an assortment of dance clubs, bars, restaurants, various norae-bangs and even a fireworks display over the sea. Before we went out for the evening, we washed up in our minbak. This was the ultimate task, because there were about 12 of us staying in a one-shower minbak. But all of us are teachers, so we have built up some sort of patience, so we were able get through the ordeal. If we had known that our minbak experience would be such a strife, we would have just stayed in a decent hotel room. enter. People were really getting into the music, especially a particular band that could be described as the closest thing Korea has to offer to heavy metal. At high-tide the water made a sliver of sand on the beach, literally lapping right up to the back of the stage. The distance between high and low-tide on Daecheon Beach is quite phenomenal. But the bands continued to play in spite of the showers, providing a pleasant soundtrack for the celebration. Aside from the music, swimming, great food, and various games, most people ventured to Boryeong to get dirty. Most visitors had the chance to paste mud onto themselves from basins full of mud on the beach, but other than that, I did not have too many opportunities myself for a mud cleansing. Following the sinks of mud, my crew and I walked past a rather lengthy line to the mud slide (we decided not wait the hour for the experience), and made our way to a dirty swimming pool. It was there that one could find people wrestling each other, playing games or just enjoying the array of sprinklers spraying water overhead. Before going for a dive in the pool, I had been covered in mud for approximately 30 minutes. It left my skin feeling somewhat smooth and it was rather tight on my body once dried.

"I will never stay in a minbak again. I will stay in a hotel next time," Vargas said. Going to sleep that night was also not something a westerner could get used to in one night. Our one-room minbak lacked a mattress, and only came with three blankets and pillows. For many of us, it was not a pleasant sleep, either due to being cold, uncomfortable or loud snores. The Mud Festival had something to offer, and that was a great reason to do something off the beaten path. The rain did not stop people have from having fun or doing what they were going to do. People travelled to Boryoeng to get dirty, and that is what they did. They did that and more. Many people from all around the world got together and did something they had never done before. That in itself is a success and everybody should be proud of themselves for participating in such a bizarre event. By Mark Hayden and Stewart Wallace Photos by Joanne Cronin & Natasha Thompsom

Carlos Vargas, USA, has lived in South Korea almost five months and has been looking forward to Mud Fest since he arrived here. "It was my first Mud Fest experience. It was a great time. I'd recommend it to anybody. It felt liberating. Usually I have to be clean all the time, but it felt good just to cover myself in the mud," Vargas said. I had seen many people wearing various colors of muck, but my friends and I could simply not find it. The festivities did not stop after the sun went down. The streets were filled with people with their umbrellas in one hand and a beer in the other. Visitors could find

Gwangju News August 2009


August Events Gangjin Celadon Festival

Daegu-myeon Goryeo Celadon Porcelain Kiln - For more Info.: (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

Lotus Industry Festival of Korea, 2009

together for the white lotus flowers, the pride of Muan, and the beautiful views of nature can be enjoyed. - Period: Aug.6~9 - Venue: The whole area of Hoesan White Lotus Ground, Illo-eup, Muan-gun, Jeollanam-do - For more Info.: (Korean)

The 14th Busan Sea Festival

Treasure of the world Revealing, The Mystery a Millennium, “Goryeo Celadon of Gangjin” Out of approximately 400 pottery sites around the nation where Goryeo celadons were made, 200 of them are preserved wholly in Gangjin. We hold the Gangjin Celadon Festival annually for worldwide recognition of our celadon’s superiority and to pass on its value and its beauty to our younger generations. Gangjin Goryeo Celadon has been acknowledged in France the home of art, Japan the home of pottery, and also in worldwide exhibitions around Europe and the U.S.A. for its beauty and value! - Period: Aug.8~16 - Venue: Jeollanam-do Ganjin-gun

Muan, where the Muan White Lotus Festival is held, is the largest habitat of White Lotus in Asia, close to the size of one hundred thousand pyeong (330,000m 2 ). Most lotus flowers are pink, but the lotus flowers in Muan are snow white, which is very rare. During this festival, an endless array of white lotus flowers can be appreciated. Muan White Lotus Festival is an ecological festival in which nature and humans come

GIC Cultural Tour The 37th Gangjin Celadon Festival “Following mysterious celadon porcelain…” Date: August 9th (Sunday) 2009 Where: Gangjin Goryeo Celadon Pottery Site, Jeollanam-do Sponsored by: Gangjin-gun Itinerary 10:00 11:30 12:00 13:00


Departure in front of Old Provincial Office Arrive in Gangjin Goryeo Celadon Pottery Site Lunch Sightseeing

Gwangju News August 2009

The Busan Sea Festival is held at various beach locations including Haeundae Beach, Gwangalli Beach, Song-do Beach, and Songjeong Beach, and at various places in the city of Busan. It is Korea’s largest sea festival, and is a liaison of Busan International Rock Festival, Busan International Beach Dance Festival, Korean Sea Literature Festival, Busan Beach Game Festival and more. About 30 small to large festivals are held during Busan Sea Festival, and visitors can pick and choose those most attractive to their personal interests. - Period: Aug.1~9 - Venue: Busan-si Haeundae-gu Haeundae Beach - For more Info.: (Korean, English, Japanese) Compiled by Jung Ji-eun

16:00 Taking Excursion Ship at the Maryang Harbor 17:30 Leave for Gwangju 19:00 Arrive in Gwangju

For more information: Tour Cost: 5,000 w0n (GIC member: free) Transportation, lunch, cruise fare, event coupons and travel insurance are included. * Please make a reservation and pay the tour cost before August 4th to Gwangju Bank 134-107-000999 (Depositor: 광주국제교류센터) To make a reservation, contact Ji-eun Jeoung at 062226-1050/2734 or ** Late cancellation 3 days before the departure date will result in a cancellation fee.

Community Board

Gwangju News Needs You Due to the rapid expansion of our community, we need more volunteers to help with the running of the magazine. Help the community and gain new skills. You can help in a variety of roles: - proofreading - editing - photography - writing - layout - administration - website or any other way YOU can think of. Contact:

Help Gwangju News Magazine! Volunteer one day a month GIC needs volunteers to mail out Gwangju News. Gwangju News, published monthly, is sent to nearly 700 addresses. Join our Gwangju News mail-out volunteers at GIC. Volunteers are called 48 hours before the mail-out day (during the first week of each month). GIC needs 6-8 people who can help. GIC and Gwangju News are only as good as the volunteers who bring it to life! Contact GIC at 062-226-2733~4, or e-mail us at:

Kids GIC Cultural Volunteer Wanted


Calling all good hearted people who love working with super bright children. If you have one hour to share, two Saturdays a month, from 11a.m to 12p.m we need you. We will need someone to help coordinate the Kids & Jr. GIC Cultural Club If you are interested, please contact Jung Jieun at the GIC 062-226-1050 or send an e-mail to

Mike at:

39, 59, 61, 74 (around Hwajeong crossroads), Subway - Exit 2 Hwajeong Station.

Gwangju Men’s Soccer The Gwangju international soccer team plays regularly most weekends. If you are interested in playing, email:

Kona Volunteers Kona Volunteers is a registered organization for helping underprivileged kids by teaching English using storybooks. We are looking for long-term native speakers who desire to enrich their lives by volunteering. We would like you to volunteer at least 2 Saturday mornings or Sunday afternoons per month. We help orphanage children or children of lowincome or single-parent families. If you have any picture books or storybooks, please donate them when you leave Korea. For more information, please visit:

Gwangju Expat Parents Association Raising interracial or foreign children in Gwangju? Want to meet other expatriates who are doing the same thing? A new web forum has been set up for expat parents in Gwangju, and we’re hoping that we can organize to discuss issues that are relevant to our somewhat unique situation in Gwangju. The web forum is open to people of all nationalities, not just westerners. Our main focus right now is on discussing alternative educational options for school-age children. Please join our facebook: gwangju parents

Apostolate to Migrants Center 969-10 Wolgok-dong, Gwangsan-gu Phone: 062-954-8004 Buses: 18, 20, 29, 37, 40, 98, 196, 700, 720 get off at Wolgok market bus stop. Mass: Sundays 3 p.m. at Wolgokdong Catholic Church

Are you looking for a translation service? Translation Service is available at GIC. Korean to English, English to Korean - Certificates; Criminal History, Family relation certificate, Marital Statement, Medical Record, etc - Webpages & catalogues - abstracts, literature, etc Contact GIC for more information 062-226-2733/4

The 3rd International Students Meeting Invitation To better understand domestic and foreign cultures. Date: August 22nd~23rd Saturday Theme: Trip to where you dream Have a trip to place where you haven’t been yet. Target: Korean university students and foreigner university or graduate students live in Gwangju. Please contact Lee Kee-eun at or 010-25038602.

Call when you are in need! English is available

(062) 1345 Immigration Contact Center

Free Health Clinic for Foreigners

(062) 1350

Sung Bin Orphanage is looking for long-term volunteers. We would like you to give at least two Saturdays per month. As well as being a friend, you will be asked to teach basic English to girls aged 7 to 14.

Venue: Gwangju Joongang Presbyterian Church. Time: Sundays from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Offers: Internal medicine, Oriental medicine and Dental service. You could take some medicine after treatment.

Labor Counseling Center

For more information please contact

How to get to there: Buses - 19, 26,

Sung Bin Orphanage

(02) 762-1339 Emergency Counseling & Hospital Information

(062) 1330 Korea’ s 24-hour One-Stop Travel Information Service

Gwangju News August 2009



Gwangju News August 2009

Advertise in Gwangju News Target Your Customers! Does your business cater to the foreign community? Advertising in Gwangju News is the best way to reach your target market. 3,000 copies are printed and distributed every month. News about your services will spread like wildfire! For advertising information contact Kim Min-su at (062) 226-2734 or e-mail:

Worship at Dongmyung English Service Sunday 11:30 am, Education Bld.

Pastor : Dan Hornbostel (010-5188-8940)

Bus: 15, 27, 28, 55, 74, 80, 1000, 1187 get off at Nongjang Dari or at Court Office Entrance

If you bring this magazine,

Gwangju News August 2009


(EN) Gwangju News August 2009 #90  

Featured articles - Temple Stay at Guknyeongsa - Summer in the Land of Han - Asian Youth Culture Festival

(EN) Gwangju News August 2009 #90  

Featured articles - Temple Stay at Guknyeongsa - Summer in the Land of Han - Asian Youth Culture Festival